Smertin announces retirement
Alexei Smertin has finally announced his retirement from the game after a career spanning 16 years.
By Richard Bailey
Last Updated: 06/07/09 3:12pm
Former Russia captain Alexei Smertin has finally announced his retirement from the game after a career spanning 16 years.
The former Chelsea man has not had a club since he was told he could leave Fulham by manager Roy Hodgson at the beginning of last season.
The 34-year-old turned his hand to politics as he searched for a new home and it is likely the midfielder will continue his new found interest now that his playing career is over.
Smertin began his career with hometown team Dynamo Barnaul in 1992 before a stint with Bordeaux saw his career really take off.
Claudio Ranieri snapped the Russian up while at the Blues for £3.45million but during his three-year spell at Stamford Bridge he managed just 16 league appearances.
During his time at Chelsea Smertin spent a year on loan at Portsmouth in 2003 before spending the entire 2005/06 campaign on loan at Charlton.
Chelsea finally decided to let the player leave permanently when they accepted a £1million offer from Dynamo Moscow in summer 2006.
However just a year later Smertin was back in the Premier League for one last season with Fulham.
"I've retired. It's official now," he said.